Last year, many nonprofit organizations took a hit at a time when their services were needed the most. Nonprofit organizations, in normal years, provide significant support to the community in ways that often go unnoticed or unreported. With demand up due to the pandemic – especially in areas such as food and housing – many worked tirelessly to make sure resources were available to those who needed them while also wondering if there would be enough funding to sustain them.
At a time when demand was at an all-time high, nonprofits were limited in their ability to fundraise given pandemic restrictions such as social distancing and gathering limitations. While some organizations moved to online platforms to hold events, there is little substitution for in-person events where people try to outbid each other during a live auction. Still, those who could reached into their pockets and helped to fund vital services.
According to reporting by the Washington Post, nearly one-third of organizations nationally are struggling to meet demand. It’s no different in Maine. As nonprofit organizations watched resources dwindle, they also witnessed the toll this economic crisis took on families across the state.
Since March of 2020, the Maine Community Foundation has raised and given close to $4.5 million through its COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support programs that help Mainers with such as childcare, food security, health and safety, housing and social services. The fund has supported frontline workers, community action programs, food pantries and area agencies on aging.
At the local level, organizations, like food pantries, have experienced high demand and know that it will take time to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Maine’s 15,000 registered nonprofits need your help more than ever. Most nonprofits have limited financial reserves to carry them through the lean times ahead, and that puts them in a difficult spot.
As we enter the summer season, area nonprofits will begin to host fundraisers again. It is likely there will still be restrictions that will keep them from seeing record attendance, but we urge the community to rally behind them.
If you are in a position to donate, consider making a contribution to your favorite charity. And if that isn’t in the cards, consider volunteering to help organizations advance their missions and hold their summer fundraisers.